Like Kolmanskop, the failed promise of wealth led to the downfall of Rhyolite, Nevada. Founded in 1904 near Death Valley National Park, the promise of gold served as a great temptation for early investors like Charles Schwab, who sank a ton of cash into developing the town (which he purchased in 1906) as a cultural center. By 1907, Rhyolite had its own school, a hospital, a stock exchange, hotels, shops, two electric plants, and even a symphony. But within a few years it became clear that there was no gold, and so the town became more popular as a western movie set.
Getting there: Rhyolite is part of Death Valley National Park, which is open daily year-round.